For George and Gaynel Couron, love at first sight has lasted nearly 81 years.
The couple, who will celebrate their 81st anniversary April 10, have the nation’s longest-lasting marriage, according to Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a group offering programs to improve communication between spouses.
“That was the girl for me. I’ve had her for 80 years, soon to be 81,” said George Couron, 100. “I got the woman I wanted.”
“I got the man I wanted,” his 97-year-old wife added.
In 1916, Couron first saw his soon-to-be wife on the sidewalk after moving to Fort Dodge, Iowa. He brushed off attempts by his sisters to set him up on a blind date because he kept thinking about “that girl on the sidewalk.”
When he finally did meet Gaynel at a carnival, she turned out to be the one his sisters had tried to match him with.
Fourteen children, 43 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren and at least 30 great-great-grandchildren later, George Couron is as surprised as anyone at his long life and marriage.
“I could say we behaved ourselves, but that just wouldn’t go down very well with some people,” he said.
Nodding toward his hand, wrapped gently around his wife’s, Couron said: “We’ve loved each other, and as you can see, this has been for 80 years.”